Riverview Gardens Plants Seeds of Change through Job Training Program

   Do you enjoy working in the garden, or on a farm? If so, Riverview Gardens may be the perfect volunteer opportunity for you. They always are looking for community volunteers to help with a variety of tasks, including seeding, watering, transplanting, harvesting, cleaning and packaging produce.

Riverview Gardens is an urban farm in Appleton that operates year-round.

Riverview Gardens, at 242 W. Seymour St., is an urban farm tucked away behind residential houses in Appleton. If you ever played golf at Riverview Country Club, you know exactly where it is. Riverview Gardens’ founders purchased the 72-acre private golf course in 2011, transforming it into an organic urban farm – where volunteers work on 15-20 acres – and a beautiful green space with hiking and bike paths for the community. The urban farm is a social enterprise that makes a social impact in the community.
Riverview Gardens addresses the very serious problems of unemployment, homelessness and poverty in our community. Its mission is to build dignity through job training and employment.

While the urban farm operates year-round, there is a lot to be done from May through November. As a community volunteer, you will work alongside ServiceWorks volunteers, helping them perform a variety of farm tasks and make a difference in your community.

How Do I Volunteer?

  1. Visit riverviewgardens.org and click on the “volunteer” tab on the home page.
  2. Register for a 30-minute orientation. Orientations are on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 am. Register for an orientation by scrolling to the bottom of the volunteer page and clicking on the green tab, “register for orientation.”
  3. Stop by Riverview Gardens Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – noon.

“We value our volunteers,” Community Engagement Coordinator Amy Hingeveld said. “There is no way we could do it without our volunteers. We can’t thank our volunteers enough and be the organization we are today without them.”

Volunteers at Riverview Gardens have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people who are facing poverty.

Through ServiceWorks, a no-fail program that focuses on developing transferable job skills, Riverview Gardens offers those who are unemployed, homeless, and in poverty a volunteer experience that helps lift them out of poverty and into a job. This under-served community can participate in a 90-hour program that evaluates them on use of time, quality of work, relationship with their peers, and their relationship with leaders.
Once they have completed the program, staff helps with such tasks as creating a resume, providing vouchers for interview dress clothes and additional services.
The organization also has partnered with more than 80 businesses looking for employees. They continue to offer support services to graduates of the program for up to three years.

Riverview Gardens has a formal collaboration with the Appleton Area School District and the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley to address unemployment and underemployment as one of the root causes of homelessness and poverty in our community for high school youth. Riverview Gardens offers opportunities to engage in job training, leadership development, and service learning in a safe and constructive environment.

Staff at Riverview Gardens includes Amy Hingeveld, community engagement coordinator (left) and Elisse Pavletich, farm manager.

Volunteers can earn a bike after 15 hours of volunteering. The Earn-A-Bike program offers volunteers reliable transportation for greater access to the community. In addition to a bike, the program provides a helmet, lock and light. Volunteers can bring their bikes back to Riverview Gardens for repairs and a tune-up.

Riverview Gardens grows people first and then produce. The social enterprise truly plants the seeds of change for its volunteers and community. Volunteering at Riverview Gardens gives you the opportunity to make a difference.

For more information, on volunteer opportunities, contact Amy Hingeveld at 920-358-0388 or ahingeveld@riverviewgardens.org.

2019 CSA Program

If you enjoy fresh, organic produce and want to support Riverview Gardens, you can purchase a share through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which includes fresh, seasonal produce, hydroponic vegetables and herbs and value-added items from the kitchen each week.

Share Options:

Full Share
24 weeks from June 5-Nov. 13:  $725

Peak Share
18 weeks from June 5-Oct. 2:  $625

Every Other Week Share
9 weeks from June 5-Oct. 2:  $325

Late Season Share   
6 weeks from October 9 – Nov. 13:  $200

Share Pick Up
Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m.

Riverview Gardens Cabana
1101 S. Oneida St., Appleton, WI  54915
For more information, visit riverviewgardens.org.

Editor’s note: This article was written by John Emenecker, a writer in Appleton who is volunteering his skills to Volunteer Fox Cities.